Planar PD8150 review

This Planar DLP does many things right, with a great colour palette and very natural skin tones, but class leaders have the edge in other areas Tested at £4500.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A very likeable projector, but not the last word in all-round ability


  • +

    Stylish design

  • +

    excellent colour reproduction

  • +

    good levels of detail


  • -

    Contrast could be better

  • -

    traces of noise

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We hate to harp on about it, but picture settings are vital when it comes to getting the most from a flatscreen TV or projector. Not having the inclination to tinker with the likes of colour and sharpness can make the difference between a poor picture and a great picture.

Take the Planar PD8150 projector as an example. It's a 1920x1080p DLP design with a curved, lacquered piano black cabinet, and connectivity includes two sets of component video inputs (one on BNC connectors), and two HDMI inputs, tucked away beneath the removable rear cover. But while it provides all the basic picture settings to play with, it also goes far beyond.

There are ten separate calibration options, individual day and night settings, four different noise reduction presets and eleven built-in test patterns - not to mention Dynamic Black and BrilliantColor picture enhancement technologies - to get to grips with. Phew! All of these are designed to help you achieve the perfect image.

An attractive colour palette
Well, after spending some quality time with the Planar's chunky, intuitive remote control we were finally ready to rumble. Immediately, we were drawn in by the Planar's attractive colour palette. It's rich during the bright, punchy scenes of Disney's Enchanted on Blu-ray. But, it also delivers the natural skin tones and that are present throughout The Assasination of Jesse James.

There's a good level of detail in the textures of the costumes in Enchanted, and it's a very watchable picture with only a hint of noise. But we'd like a touch more contrast: during the frenetic final chapters of Aliens vs Predator 2Requiem blacks are rich enough but there are patches of dark tone where class-leaders provide greater insight. Altering the picture settings to reveal more detail just overcooks the overall brightness of the picture.

The Planar fights a good fight, and is a very capable performer, but class leaders at this price have the edge when it comes to contrast and clarity.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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